Council remind public of responsible dog ownership

Thursday, 29 December 2016

DERRY City and Strabane District Council has issued a timely warning about responsible dog ownership.

With the festivities now over, many families will have welcomed new additions into their families in the form of man's best friend.

The local council has advised people who have received dogs as Christmas presents of their responsibilities as a pet owner.

Enda Cummins, principal environment officer at Derry City and Strabane District Council, appealed to members of the public to be aware of their responsibilities.

He said: "Owning a dog is a big commitment. With the average life span of a dog ranging up to 15 years parents should be mindful and educate their children so they understand that owning a dog is a long-term commitment and often very demanding.

"Dogs need a lot of time and attention and can be expensive to keep in terms of grooming, feeding and at times unexpected vet bills. There is also the daily responsibilities of having a dog such as ensuring it gets exercise, fed, groomed, trained and cleaned up after.

"They also need company just like us humans and can get bored and lonely very easily. Younger active dogs in particular need high levels of mental stimulation and constructive play. Please ensure that your dog never becomes a nuisance to your neighbour."

So, what is a responsible dog owner? Enda Cummins continued: "A responsible dog owner is an owner who ensures the good welfare of his or her pet, keeps their dog under control at all times, never allows their dog to stray, disposes of their pets dog foul immediately and ensures that their dog does not cause nuisance through noise or odour.

"Licensing is considered to be an integral part of responsible dog ownership. All dogs, with the exception of guide dogs, must a valid dog licence. Before you get a dog or a puppy you must get a licence for it, even a puppy that stays with its mother must have a licence by the age of six months. It is against the law not to and council will prosecute if you are caught."

Anyone licensing a dog should note that it is no longer possible to licence it without including its valid microchip number.

Micro chipping is considered a simple and safe modern identification method which is permanent and cannot be removed, therefore if someone was to steal your dog council can attempt to trace it through its microchip.

"If your dog is not already licensed or micro chipped maybe consider this as a gift for your pet this Christmas? Not only does it help our dog wardens reunite lost dogs with their owners but it also gives dog owners peace of mind in knowing if their dog is ever lost, there is an increased chance of finding it through our micro chipping system' added Mr Cummins.



Dog licenses are available online at Council's website, these can be downloaded from council's website at or licenses can be purchased at council Offices in Derry or Strabane. Alternatively, an application can be posted on request.

The standard dog licence fee is 12.50 and can be purchased from Derry City Council offices Environmental Health Department.

A dog licence is free to anyone over 65 years of age (for one dog but is 5 for any additional dog).

Licence fees are also discounted to 5 if the dog is neutered or sterilized, or if the dog owner is in receipt of an income-related benefit (income support or housing benefit).

The owner of an unlicensed dog may be issued with a 75 fixed penalty notice or prosecuted in court. The payment of a fixed penalty notice discharges any liability to conviction for that offence.

In court the maximum penalty on conviction for keeping or taking possession of a dog without a licence is 1,000. Anyone selling or giving another person a dog without ensuring that the other person has a licence also commits an offence (maximum penalty fine 1,000).

Meanwhile, the Dogs Trust has also reiterated its 'A dog is for life not just for Christmas' slogan - 40 years on from its inception.

CEO Adrian Butler said: "After nearly 40 years of highlighting our iconic slogan, 'A dog is For Life Not Just For Christmas', it's clear to see that it is still as prevalent today as it was back in 1978, as many dogs continue to be bought on impulse, and sadly cast off when their appeal wears thin.

"Time and again, people continue to buy puppies as a Christmas presents without taking into consideration the demands of caring for a tiny puppy and the lifelong commitment that dog ownership brings.

"Sadly, there are many understandable reasons why people have to give up their dogs and we appreciate that circumstances can change beyond their control, however we cannot fathom that dogs should be callously abandoned simply because people haven't done their research before buying.

Over the last 12 months, Dogs Trust has cared for over 16,000 dogs and many have been handed in to the charity's network of 20 rehoming centres in the UK and one in Dublin for a wealth of reasons from the ludicrous to the downright strange.


Subscribe to read full newspaper »

Send to a friend

Please complete the following form to inform a friend about this page.

In order to process your information we must ask you to enter the letters in the image into the box:

CAPTCHA Image play audio version Reload Image

* Mandatory field - please complete